Witness clears US woman in Italian murder trial

18th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A man jailed with a co-defendant of Amanda Knox, an American convicted for the murder of a British student in Italy, told an appeal hearing Saturday she and her boyfriend were innocent.

Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her boyfriend at the time, were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison for the grisly 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher with whom Knox shared a house in Perugia.

Both are now appealing their convictions.

Prosecutors have said the crime was a drug-fuelled sex game that turned violent.

Rudy Guede, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in a separate trial for his role in the murder, allegedly told prison inmate Mario Alessi that "Amanda and Raffaele have nothing to do with the murder".

Alessi repeated his allegation, already made in a deposition to the police, during Saturday's hearing in this central Italian city.

Alessi, a mason who is serving time for killing a child, told the court Guede had spoken to him about his friends' trial at the gym at a time when they were both detained in the same prison cell.

According to Guede's alleged statements the British woman was killed by a friend of Guede's when she resisted a sexual assault.

"Rudy told me he tried to help the young woman after her friend wounded her with a small knife with an ivory-coloured grip," Alessi told the court.

The friend then allegedly told Guede: "What are you doing? We have to kill her if not we'll end up in prison because of her."

When questioned by Perugia prosecutors Guede denied ever having made such statements.

The young lovers were originally convicted in large part because of traces of Knox's DNA found on the knife and Sollecito's DNA on a bra clip.

© 2011 AFP

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